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'Writing Errancy: Outcasts, Capitalism, and Mobility', Alberto Lopez Cuenca
     This is a reposting of a previous post which had been deleted.  Also, the article's sections which are indented to center and extend to the right margin are quotes of other works;  They are supporting quotes.  Those sections are not noted by standard and the article can be confusing to read as a result.      
" . . . errancy keeps meaning."1

     This is the ending of the article Writing Errancy: Outcasts, Capitalism, and Mobility by Alberto Lopez Cuenca, online at http://www.culturemachine.net.  http://www.culturemachine.net/index.php/cm/article/view/551/571 Although the word 'Writing' seems out of place and the article is best described as conjecture, still it hooked me.
     It seems the article's desideratum is of an understanding.  That understanding being, mankind is transferring from a natural state of existence to a societal state of existence but slowly,very slowly.  The theme is touched on only tangentially by Mr. Cuenca. The tangents are summarized by catchwords or slogans, such as mobility, creativity, globalization, criminality, etc.  These refer indirectly to either the decline of a natural state of affairs or the supplanting done by a societal state of affairs.  Although this evolution may seem obvious - hasn't mankind's history been one of moving from a natural state toward a societal state(?) - there are contradictions to its linearity.  Certainly, Theism provided the best foundation of such a transfer but has, incongruously, been besmirched throughout modern history. The result has been the backsliding of various eras towards the natural state of affairs as evidenced most recently by the world wars of our own era.  Yet, the articles tangents suggest an inexorable necessity to abnegate - to some extent - from our natural state existences.  It also suggests that the natural state is implied in societal corruptions and unethicalities despite the 'societal' context.
     The 'semi-academic' article's tone is exigent, its reasoning insufficient, but not insufficient due to malfeasance.  Instead the insufficiency reveals that understanding is arrived at piecemeal.  We only learn a piece at a time rather than learning as a lump sum;  A lump sum falling into somebody's lap isn't generally the route to understanding.  This speaks of experiential learning. 
    The article also struck me as a modern-day antiphon.  Today's secular, scientific, reasoned civilization - seemingly without a deity - still has its verses and hymns, its oblations to a devotion.  However, the devotion is to a secular structure;  Scientific reasoning, evidence, empiricality, thoughtfulness, etc. have replaced prayer,
singing and other worshipful adorations as humanity's -  uncertain as we are - devotional oblations.
     Anyway, the article interested me.
Color Gradient and Cant

"Mr. Jomes, you're a fine gentleman.  You have the Committee's respect, but if you  have something to hide from Rep. Bugsby then I have to say, 'Something's wrong.'"

"It's Jones sir not Jomes."

"Oh really!  First it's Jomes, now it's Jones.  What's next Mr. Jomes/Jones?  Mr. Sloames?  Bowmes?  Froames?  This is a Congressional Committe you're addressing."

"Yes sir, I understand."

"Now if we can get back to business, I'll ask again . . . 'Answer me these questions three:'

"What is your name?"


"What is your misssion?"

"To establish a bonkhead", he stretches out his arm and moves it left to right and back again, "in this area over here."

"Are you familiar with 'bonkhead?'", I ask the applicant.

"wa wa wah."

"You are?  Ok great." I nod, a broad engaging smile crosses my face as I say chipperly, "Welp, I think you're probably the top candidate for the job!  I really do!  Congratulations!"

"Wha wa wa.  Wha wa."

"Absolutely. Umm, probably about 2 or 3 days.  Would you like to be notified by email or phone?"

"Wha wa wha."

"Email?  Ok, great."

"Wa wha wa wa. Waa wha wa, wha wa wa wa, Wha.  Wha wha wa wa."

"Yes indeed, nice meeting you as well.  Have a nice day."

'Oliver Twist', Charles Dickens
      Charles Dickens has the unfortunate luck of having been allocated with both Late Modern English and a nascent, utilitarian industrial revolution.   Shakespeare had  poetic, lyrical, Middle English and  a strong monarchy.   This utilitarianism which characterizes Dicken's era can hamper . . . whoa, whoa, whoa!  On second thought  bemoaning Dickens bad historical luck is equivalent to bemoaning despotism's bad luck at coexisting with humanism.  Stuff happens as we used to say in the '80s.  In the case of Charles Dickens - thank goodness stuff happened; Had he not been burdened of the utilitarian he, probably, wouldn't have been as great an author.  As it is, despite the era, he is more Shakespearean than some others considered Shakespearean.  His writing should be considered ineluctable by anyone with some literary interest.
     Orphaned child Oliver  - the title character of Charles Dicken's Oliver Twist1 - survives life as a ward of the state then becoming an unwillingly aid of the thief Fagin and his abettors .  The life of these characters occurs during the beginnings of the industrial revolution and the events serve to comment on those conditions as well as an individuals shouldering their responsibilities.  However, in being labeled as social critique or social commentary the book's literary aspects are being done a disservice.
     For me, the characters are the most significant element.   They are impassioned, ardent, fiery, stimulated, enthused, selective.  Most importantly, they are prideful of  their respective selves; By this I mean that within circumstances of a societal setting the characters stand up for themselves with a fully engaged loquaciousness. They rarely if ever present a tight-lipped concealment.  Rarely is a character silent in a way which 'speaks volumes'.  Instead they let the effects of their dialogue fall where it may:
     "Juries" said Mr. Bumble, grasping his cane tightly, as was his wont when working into a passion:  "juries is ineddicated, vulgar, grovellng wretches.
     "So they are," said the undertaker.
     "They haven't no more philosophy nor political economy about 'em then that," said the beadle, snapping his fingers contemptuously.
     "No more they have," acquiesced the undertaker."
     "I despise 'em," said the beadle, growing very red in the face.
     "So do I," rejoined the undertaker.2

      The dialogue of the beadle and the undertaker is not - in my opinion - of acquiescence;  It is of supporting an impassioned response.  The undertaker avoids giving a contrary view - which he may or may not hold, but he doesn't acquiesce. Instead he mollifies.  The undertaker is never taken aback by the beadles 'working himself into a passion.'  The undertaker quickly and rather forcefully rejoins with the likes of  "No more they have"  and  "So do I.", refusing to let the beadles passion rule without a respectable seconding.  Such backing requires a great deal of character by the undertaker himself.  Thus both characters are strongly autonomous, as are all the book's characters.
     The undertakers calm, in addition to being a powerful contrary to the beadles 'very  red in the face' expression is also somewhat comical. The undertaker is agreeing with the beadle as if to say "Yeah, let 'em have it beadle!  They'll wish they'd suffered a cannon shot from 2 or 3 feet away rather than the wrath of the beadle!'  This comicality softens the potential sharpness of the beadles passion;  It creates a moderating and relaxing effect.  It is not infrequent
with Dickens that this kind of moderation occurs.   Dickens seems so respectful of the character's autonomy and passions that  'silence which speaks volumes' will not suffice for his characters.  Neither will intimations be good enough to pass as suspense, nor hints good enough to pass as inter-character tension. It could be said that Dickens authorial judgement is one in which discourse, even if frightfully impassioned, is civil and he (Dickens) will not put up with any of his characters shrinking from an obligation of discourse, regardless of the passions involved.

Another example:
"By what authority am I kidnapped in the street, and brought here by these dogs?" asked Monks, looking from one to the other of the men who stood beside him. 
     "By mine,"replied Mr. Brownlow, . . . If you complain of being deprived of your liberty - you had power and opportunity to retrieve it as you came along. . . ."
     "Is there -," demanded Monks with a faltering tone  "is there - no middle course?" 
    "This is pretty treatment, sir," said Monks throwing down his hat and cloak, "from my father's oldest friend."3

    Mr. Brownlow is straight-forward and non-concealing with his committal.  Monks, despite the demurral,  is not entirely appeasing of Brownlow's forcefulness. Even facing judgement Monks stands aside his choices rather than meakly abiding or acquiescing to Mr. Brownlow.  Thus, Monks too is given an amount of strength and credibility.  In fact, part of the books marvel is Dickens demanding of his characters admirableness - despite the potential impracticality of their being admirable.  I would go so far as to say that all of the book's dialogue can be just as  revealing and discerning as these examples.
     A frequent criticism of the book is that Oliver always seems the suffering innocent.  His innocence is great, his wrongs are nill.  This impossibly good depiction can seem exaggerated but, eventually, the reader is persueded that the innocence is hyperbolic for the sake of representing a factuality.   Decency - which is too often obfuscated by the base - in order to be
presented as achievable and existent, needed to be exaggerated.    Probity is an equal player in the game of life.  Too often it lacks respect as legitimate. Probity has been severely banged around by latitudinal values yet Dickens insists on wholesomeness as being the equal of the abject, though the wainscoting of the abject may seem the embedded, default condition of our existence.
     The depiction of the setting adds claustrophobia
to an already ominous late 18th century England;  As if  the soot and grime of a nascent
, growing, and ponderous industrial revolution had - in its utilitarianism - engulfed the country's literature as well as the country's commerce. The plot moves along well and maintains suspense.
     Dicken's  disquisitiveness regarding the English language is amazing and, in all probability, unparallelled.  Dickens authorship - discerning, admonishing
, caring - is a bulwark of the literary.  Dickens loftiness requires his superintendence which he humbly and admirably provides.  All this and a plaintive style which serves as the icing of a truly formidable, literary cake . . . er, I mean . . . personage.

". . . but Oliver's thoughts, like those of most other people, although they were extremely ready and active to point out his difficulties, were wholly at a loss to suggest  any feasible mode of surmounting them . . ." 4

Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens, Published by Bantam Dell, A Division of Random House Inc., Bantam Classic reissue, ©2005.

Ibid, pg. 26
3 Ibid, pg. 396 - 397
4 Ibid, pg. 54

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